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2023 CURTC Ladies Championship: Ulla Petti versus Anna Chesca

Anna & Ulla

Ulla beat Anna 6/3 6/4 in an exciting contest between the University’s No 1 Real tennis Blue and the University’s No 1 Lawn tennis Blue!

Ulla was able to control the match by serving to an excellent length against the left handed Anna and then placing the ball at an awkward height on the tambour to prevent Anna from intercepting. On the occasions that Anna found her length with her railroad, she was able to dominate the rally with her impressive speed around the court and she started forcing at pace in the second set. There were many examples of long exciting restes for the crowd of new recruits and former and forthcoming Champions to enjoy.


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T&RA ‘Volunteer of the Year’ Award: The Maltby Salver

Congratulations Ben. Well deserved!

ps Ben was also nominated for the new T&RA Member’s Choice award. His nomination:

“Singlehandedly (with perhaps a little help from Jacqui!), Ben has transformed the streaming of Real Tennis at not one but multiple courts across the country. ‘Ben’s Den’ is now a feature at major tournaments allowing top quality real tennis to be enjoyed on your in the comfort of own home/work place. Multiple cameras, integrated scoring, audio, amazing in game statistics all appear seamlessly on your screen.

Furthermore, Ben has generously shared his knowledge and time to assist individual Clubs and the T&RA in setting up their own systems.

Thank you Ben for all the video streaming you have done for us and the clubs! It has also improved sponsor visibility and has the potential to draw in a new audience for the game.”

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CURTC At Queen’s, Sunday, 30th April – From The Post Match Interview

When the club’s Tim Clarke (68 and falling, oic drama, St John’s College School down the road) suggests you see a particular show he’s probably right. Camice and I made a weekend of the club’s visit to Queen’s and enjoyed almost all of it. Suspiciously cheap parking near St Katherine’s Dock and a walk to The Bridge had us at the Saturday matinee of Guys and Dolls, the movie of which is exactly my age but this was so, so much livelier than me and the movie. We were ‘immersed’ as the show went on in front, behind and all around us. It was simply the best musical I’ve ever seen. The interval has cast members singing to the shuffling crowd and the finale has the ‘immersed’ dancing with the cast on stage. I found myself dancing with Nicely Nicely Johnson but he’s not phoned since. Behind and above us in the more expensive seats was the Clarke clan. He’s trade. He probably gets a discount.

Breakfast of Champions

We arrived late at our across the river from Queen’s airBnB. The welcome was a touch terse. No. Seriously. The last time I was that unwelcome at a door I was leading a drugs raid. We chose to breakfast at Queen’s and I never did see what our host looked like from the front. Sunday morning breakfast on the veranda at Queen’s. No adjectives needed. As for the day’s tennis, I can’t be bothered writing it up and have just transcribed our manager’s post match interview.

“We knew it was a difficult place to go. When Stevie Chadwick scored in the winning gallery with the game’s first move, we was hopeful of three points but we let them back into the game and at half time it was all to play for. When two of our senior players, big Dave P and TK, didn’t step up after being nobbled over lunch with white wine by their striker, Sidney Yankson, I knew we were in trouble. You’d think experienced players like them two would know better and the club will have to see what we do about it. Still, the lads dug in and I was pleased with the performance. Jin did well. Real box to box player that lad. Joey Z and young Ed put in a shift. Big Al was very, very solid in defence at the end of the day. I was pleased with the effort. I left Cam and Streetsy on the bench and they’re rooting for the first team. Which was good. I went for an early bath and was disappointed to come back to find big Dave P had signed for the opposition in the post-lunch transfer window. Still, at the end of the day, Joey Z and Big Al kept him out. I’m always pleased when Howard Angus referees. You know exactly what you’re gonna get. But all we do now is look forward to the next match. A game at a time.”

Team : Jin Seok Lee, Tony Revier, Steve Chadwick, Charles Norbury, Dave Pimblett, Joe Zygmunt. Alasdair Bovaird.

Subs : Marcus Streets, Camice Revier.


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Fiona and Nigel


Loyal members and supporters of CURTC, you are much missed

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April Fools Day – CURTC In Manchester

I was last in Manchester a decade ago and, on arrival, remembered why. Its streets still wear the debris of the night before, planning permission had to have been given in the early hours at The Hacienda Club and the pedestrian crossings would make Darwin proud. That the club car park is all four figure codes and rolling gates only unnerved me more. We entered the club through its rather battered but, doubtless, secure door, complete with camera, and I’m sure I saw Jeeves cross the hall in search of a trouser press.


It could be the locus for half the between-the-wars murder mysteries ever written

Camice and The Colonel

Camice and The Colonel

The club is in aspic and so much more charming for it. The wooden panelled walls bear sepia-tinted sporting photos and hunting trophies in equal measure and you’d swear the lighting was gas. It’s more than just a real tennis club. If it’s a racquet sport, it’s played here, padel and pickle included while, rather disloyal I thought, Camice and Sue found the skittles alley in the middle of my match.


The only way I could cut Jack down to size.



As for the match ? Bailey was in the throes of losing as Camice and I arrived. Then my scheduled opponent, an older, well respected, decent chap with a bad knee was unavailable with his place being taken by Jack. No surname. Just Jack. Twice my size and half my age who, rather unsportingly I thought, went on to win 6-5 in the third. Camice and I went on to lose by the same tiny margin in the after lunch doubles while Christie never came to terms with his opponent’s serve that came across court, flew into the air and either did or did not hit the slope above Christie’s head before spinning off in all directions. The serve will have a name but I daren’t write what Christie called it. Again Cambridge travelled and proved to be entertaining, if unsuccessful opponents. We are, if nothing else, consistent. Still, we consoled ourselves over dinner in the unoriginally named Mason’s, in the one-time Freemason’s Hall in the centre of town a short walk away and by 9pm the day wasn’t the sporting disaster we’d first believed.

Dr S and Bailey

The Baileys




The author at work

The club was beautifully old school, the tennis entertaining, the company fun. I’m still not convinced about Manchester. TK

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Inter University Cup, sponsored by the Dedanists and Pol Roger

The Annual Inter-University Real Tennis Tournament ran very smoothly this year, thanks in large part to the pros Kees Ludekens and Peter Paterson, who dedicated their weekends to marking matches and hosting 41 real tennis players from six universities across the country. Special mention must also go to Ben Geytenbeek for his tireless effort and expertise in devising the draw and adjusting timings as matches overran or got ahead of schedule.

Ben Geytenbeek

Peter Paterson

27 players across 12 teams took part in the Inter-University Cup, providing some great tennis through all the rounds, and the thunderous support from the Middlesex players in particular gave the tournament a real buzz.

Middlesex 2 (Rohit Jain, Reuben Ard) made it through to the final against Cambridge 1, their third Cambridge opposition after a dominant performance against Cambridge 5 and a close-fought 2-1 victory (8/3, 5/8, 8/3) over Cambridge 2. We unfortunately missed out on what was shaping up to be a close match-up between Middlesex 2 and the top-seeded Bristol 1 team due to a scheduling clash but nonetheless they were [putting them] in the final and raring to go with plenty of support.

Cambridge 1 (Jin Lee, Arthur Adams) beat Durham (Hugo Pennant [handicap singles winner], Hal Hornby) in their first round in a game that was much closer than the eventual scores suggest and then faced Middlesex 1 (Oliver Vidana, Faustas Vilimas) in the semi-final. Despite a brilliant performance from Oliver, however, beating Jin in the First Singles, Cambridge emerged victorious to go through to the final.

In the final Rohit put up a great fight using a combination of his skills from real tennis and from cricket to take Jin to 13 games, but ultimately Jin emerged victorious. Similarly, Reuben was feeling a little fatigued after his long day of real tennis but nevertheless took four good games from Arthur in the second singles.

Cambridge 1

Middlesex 2

Ultimately the home team used their home court advantage to win [won] the Cup, but we at CURTC are looking forward to hosting another brilliant tournament next year and hope to see O*ford and Exeter back in the fold for an even bigger draw!

Arthur Adams, CURTC

ps Many thanks to the Dedanist’s Foundation for their generous support of University Real Tennis!

pps Photo credits: Jin Lee & Jacqui Siu

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Inter University Handicap Singles

Once all the teams had battled with the snow on the drive down to Cambridge, the stage was set and it was time to battle it out on court to decide who would go home victorious.

Eight universities helped form an action packed three days of competing in both the Inter University Cup and the Handicapped Singles.

The group stages provided some thrilling games, with grills being smashed, serves being rolled and the bell in the winning gallery rung.

16 prevailed out of the group stages into the knock out stages of which five were represented by Middlesex. Another day, and another eight players prevailed into the quarter finals. Middlesex still having control of the draw with four players remaining.

2023 IUHS

However, come the final it was a shootout between Reuben Ard of Middlesex and Hugo Pennant of Durham. One set to eight to decide the champion. With the Dedans filled, mainly by the 16 person team of Middlesex, Peter called the handicap and the game begun. The score reached 5-5, before Hugo pulled away, winning 8-5.

Hugo Pennant, 2023 IUHS Winner

Reuben Ard, MURTC

Whilst what occurred on the court was a real success, as was that off the court. On the Saturday evening the CURTC hosted their annual Pol Roger sponsored drinks reception and dinner up in the viewing gallery. It provided both excellent food and drink but also a great opportunity to come together and socialise between the competing universities.

In addition, this whole tournament wouldn’t be possible without the organisational and logistical skills of the Cambridge team of professionals, who as always delivered a smooth running, competitive and memorable tournament. Finally, and perhaps most importantly it is important to thank the Dedanist’s Foundation for their continued financial support which permits all teams to not only train before the tournament but also enter the annual event. Without them the game wouldn’t be the same and hopefully the legacy can be continued, and the game of Real Tennis can be preserved or even better grow.

Cambridge 2023 over and out, see you all in 2024!

Hugo Pennant, Durham University

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Men’s Varsity

Arthur Adams, Jack Wilson-Smith, KL, Patrick Smart, Jin Seok Lee



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Women’s Varsity Team

Ulla Petti, Anna Chesca, Ellie White, Lucy Caines

It all happens this Friday and Saturday at Lord’s… Many thanks to Pol Roger, Grays of Cambridge and the MCC.





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Pre Varsity Tournament

The students spent last Saturday evening at the club polishing their serve spins and finalising doubles’ strategies. Numerous competitive singles and doubles matches were played off level in preparation for Varsity, and the sporty evening full of emotions lasted until late.

On the Green court, Miles Kempton (M2) and Jonathan Marrow were up against Leo Sanitt and Ulla Petti (W1), who managed to win a close match full of long rallies and deuces 8:2. Camice Revier (W2) and Jonathan Marrow put up a good fight against Lucy Caines (W1) and Julius Gasson, but Julius’s unbelievable forehands brought their team an 8:6 win. Practicing for Varsity doubles, Lucy and Ulla finished second against Miles and Julius after the deciding game at 7 all – but now the W1 first pair knows exactly what to practice for their big match!

In singles, the title of the longest match goes to Alison Dauris and Camice – in a match full of amazing points and cheers from the audience, Camice won 6:4. Miles remained unbeatable in singles thanks to Ulla and Leo, both going home with a bagel. Leo showed amazing consistency in his other singles matches, giving only 1 game to Jonathan and 2 to Ulla. Lucy showed great skills and focus, winning both of her singles matches against Julius (6:1) and Jonathan (6:5).

The winners of the evening were determined by our computer scientist Leo using complex algorithms and calculations – congratulations Julius, Lucy, Jonathan, and Miles!

We thank the Giraffe Club for the support – a hot bowl of soup and energizing snacks boosted our performance throughout the challenging matches!

It was a great evening and practice tournament – the team players certainly feel prepared to face their Oxford opponents at Second’s Varsity this Friday and Saturday (24th-25th February) in Cambridge, and First’s Varsity at Lords the week after (3rd-4th March) at Lord’s.

Ulla Petti, Women’s Varsity Captain, 2023

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Pt 3: Women’s Varsity 2nds

Camice, Kitty, Stacey, Phoebe

The Men’s and Women’s 2nds Varsity are both on the Blue Court this Friday (24th) and Saturday (25th). Hopefully the stream will be working but to be sure of catching the action, why not go along to the club? And I’m sure the players would appreciate any sustenance that you could bring with you!

Camice Revier

Kitty Croft

Phoebe Fox

Stacey Sandigurskaia

Women’s Varsity 2nds, 2023

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Busy Weekend: Pt 2 Men’s Varsity 2nds

Danny Leboff, Ollie Hilton, Peter, Kees, Miles Kempton & Oliver Anderson-Shah

This weekend sees the return of the Varsity 2nds match to Cambridge on Friday, 24th, and Saturday, 25th. Please come along to the club and support our teams if you possibly can.

Danny & Oliver

Ollie & Miles

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Busy weekend for our student players: Pt 1 CURTC Ladies visit Newmarket

On Sunday morning, 6 CURTC Ladies set off to Newmarket for an away match. For many of us, it was the first time playing on a different court to Cambridge, so you could feel the excitement in the air!

The morning started with Ulla Petti (W1) facing her long-time nemesis, Adam Mackintosh. After Ulla’s comeback from 0:4 down, Adam managed to keep his focus, and just like at their previous match in Prested, beat Ulla by one game – this just calls for a rematch! Next up was Anna Chesca (W1) against Logan Crawford – the games were close, but Anna’s mind-blowing talent brought home a 6:8 win. Lucy Caines and Ulla (W1 doubles) played the first doubles of the day against Adam and Logan – practising the formations and calling for shots at the student tournament the night before paid off, and CURTC ladies achieved a 7:5 win in a close match. Following the doubles, our newest addition to the lovely group of CURTC Ladies – Isabelle Olaes – played her first ever match against George Aretakis. While George’s serves were challenging even to the more experienced players, Isabelle surprised us all with her fast learning and enthusiasm, and managed to win a whole game against George. Go Isabelle! Phoebe Fox (W2) made it look easy – middling the ball and hitting the tambour, she brought home two wins for Cambridge – singles against Bill Mackintosh (10:2) and doubles with Isabelle against Graham and George (10:4). Lucy’s singles was a close one, with a deciding game going to Jeremy Barnett, and the match finishing in 8:7. After a collective decision, Stacey Sandigrurskaia (W2) played her singles against Bill – a 6 points lower handicap – off level. Although finishing second, she was only one game away from winning the match – final score to Newmarket 6:7.

With the first 8 matches finishing in 4-4 between Newmarket and Cambridge, the winner of the fixture came down to the final match – a doubles between Anna and Stacey, and Graham and Jeremy. The game was intriguing – both the audience and the players kept their eyes closely on the ball and helped with the sound effects! With unbelievable volleys from the lawn tennis blues, Cambridge ladies took a win of 10:2, and the final score of the day was 5-4 to CURTCL.

It was a great day full of emotions, fun, and competition – we thank Newmarket for inviting us, Bill for organising, Andrew and Adam for marking, and Giraffe Club for the support! Looking forward to our next fixture against Newmarket!

Ulla Petti, CURTC Ladies Captain

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CURTC At Narnia, Sunday, 19th Feb, circa 1950

Travel south for an hour then west for another and you’ll be met by a toll booth where admission to Narnia is gained only on the production of six florins. Payment made, its teenage guardian will uncaringly allow you to pass and only shrug when asked how you might find your destination. You journey on as the buildings age and the road cedes to a track just wide enough for a pony and trap. You drift back in time and the Tudor surroundings overwhelm you as the Hunter-wearing, dog-walking mothers and polo ponies stare disinterested as you pass. You turn around at least once, carefully avoiding the incongruous Maserati, but this time you do find the wooden signs, buried in the hedge. The welcome is warm and the open, wood-burning hearth is doing its best against the morning cold. Coffee is delivered to you weary travellers.

Tennis in Narnia is slow enough to have the one hour time limit invoked more than once and lunch is a generous, gentle and unhurried affair. The tennis had its highlights and no match was one-sided. That the rather fun day ended level was only fitting and, as we left, the world sped up again, gathering pace through Pangbourne and soon the motorways brought us back to the all too hurried real world.

TK aka TR

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Finals Day, Saturday February 18th

Please come along to the Club and support our worthy Finalists!

Finals Day schedule

or image below..


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